THe Hidden Presentation
Katie is the founder of Yellow Ladybugs and is the mother of two autistic girls. Here she talks about the more ‘internalised’ or hidden presentation of autism in some girls, and why girls often fly under the radar due to their ability to mask.
My son was quite easily diagnosed with autism at five years old. It was 'outwardly obvious' to me and his teachers, that he displayed the more common traits linked to autism e.g., repetitive and rigid behaviours, anxiety and lack of receptive language.
Whilst the path to diagnosis was easy for my son, the journey to diagnosis for my daughter was filled with doubt, lack of expertise and recognition. She was often dismissed as being 'just shy' and 'fine', and when I raised concerns over her troubles connecting with peers and her hidden anxiety, I was turned away again and again. It wasn't until she was in grade two, and her learning was beginning to be impacted, that we really had to push for answers and sought out an expert who really understood the subtle ways autistic girls may present.
Once we dug deeper, we were able to see other traits that were less obvious. Her sensory sensitivities were not so apparent, but equally in need of support. If we had an earlier diagnosis, I am certain her learning needs would have been better supported.
Natalie, Mum to Girl 9 years old and Boy 7 years old, both with an Autism diagnosis.